3 February 2020
More than 200 personnel from the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), New Zealand Army and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) are at Waitangi this week to participate in a special programme of commemorations.
The RNZN is invited annually by the people of Te Tai Tokerau to attend Waitangi Day activities. But this year, recognising the special focus of Māori service in the New Zealand Armed Forces, all three Services will be represented and will play a significant role in the commemorative ceremonies.
This will include a tri-Service 100-person Royal Guard, colours from each of the Services, a tri-Service Māori Cultural Group and an NZDF Band featuring five vocalists. New Zealand Army officers will also carry the 28th Maori Battalion Banner and a Maori (Pioneer) Battalion replica King’s Colour during the ceremonies.
The NZDF involvement begins on the morning of Wednesday, 5 February, with the opening of a new museum on the Treaty Grounds dedicated to the service of Māori in the Armed Forces.
Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Proctor, Chief of Army Major General John Boswell, and Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark will attend the opening, which will feature prized items from the Army Museum in Waiouru.
The 28 (Maori) Battalion Banner and the Maori (Pioneer) Battalion replica King’s Colour will be paraded, along with Te Rau Aroha – the Battalion’s canteen truck, given by schoolchildren of the Native Schools of New Zealand, which followed the Battalion throughout its overseas service during the Second World War.
That evening, to celebrate the service of Māori servicemen and women in the military, the NZDF Māori Cultural Group, vocalists, musicians, Royal Guard of Honour and a firing party will tell that story through ceremonial, music and waiata in the Treaty Grounds.
On Waitangi Day, the NZDF band and Māori Cultural Group will perform at 11.30am. The NZDF Ceremonial Guard will parade just before noon and at midday RNZN vessel HMNZS Wellington will fire a 21-gun salute to mark the 68th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.
Following the gun salute the RNZAF’s Black Falcons aerobatic display team will conduct a flypast over the Treaty Grounds to conclude the NZDF ceremonial presence at Waitangi.